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By Sally Sculthorpe on

Herman Booth’s cabin trunk

Discover the family story behind this very well-travelled piece of luggage.

Recently, our request for donations of luggage led us to receive this beautiful trunk that dates from the early twentieth century and originally belonged to Herman Booth of Huddersfield.

We would like to say a huge thank you to the relatives of Mr Booth who donated the trunk and very kindly shared the following story with us.

“This trunk was always referred to in our family as the ‘cabin trunk’. Packing it was a major event and when full it was extremely heavy.”

“In the past it was used when our relatives were going on their annual holiday, by train. It would be collected from the house and taken to the station before departure day as the Booth family had no transport. The family numbered six – with four children all born before 1914. It was necessary to take a lot of clothes, as there were no launderettes, and no washing or drying facilities at guest houses.”

Herman Booth’s initials embossed in gold paint.

“Family legend has it that on the train to holiday resorts there was a lot of snobbish ‘one-upmanship’, with those who could afford a two week holiday showing off to those just taking one week. It was always a frantic rush to find six seats together because there were no seat reservations in those days, and certainly not in second or third class!”

Original luggage label showing Blackpool as the destination, travelling by the London and North Western railway.

“The trunk was also used during the family’s house move before the First World War (in a horse drawn van, of course). It was not used for journeys after the 1930s, as the children married and left home. It stayed at home, and was used for storing spare dress fabrics. It moved with our family to various parts of the country, before we eventually settled in York. So it seems fitting for it to come to the National Railway Museum.”

Do you have a particular piece of luggage that always travels with you on train journeys? Why not tell us about it here.

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